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Volume 1110
THE BURROUGHS 
BIBLIO-PRO-PHILE SERIES
featuring

DALE R. BROADHURST 

The Burroughs Reader

.
 
SWORD OF THEOSOPHY SERIES
 
J. Carter: Sword of Theosophy Revisited
2. Lupoff of Mars
3. ERB: Search for Ultimate Answers
 
THE GODS OF ERB SERIES
 
1. Religions of ERB Fiction
2. Spectres of the Supernatural 
3. Beyond the Farthest Stars
 
REX MAXON TRIBUTE PAGES INTRO
 
2. Maxon/Foster Connection
3. Reprints
4. Summary of Sunday Pages
CLASSIC ERB-RELATED REPRINTS
 
Story of Atlantis: W.Scott-Elliott I
Story of Atlantis: W.Scott-Elliott II
Phra the Phoenician: EL Arnold: Intro

Mike Royer and Dale Broadhurst, Oregon, summer 1964
Mike Royer and Dale Broadhurst, Oregon, summer 1964


My first contact with Mike Royer came during the summer of 1964, when he submitted some fan art for my magazine, "The Burroughs Reader." Mike was then working at a sign shop in Oregon but he had been studying comics illustration for several years and was just then embarking upon the road to becoming a professional artist. Among the art samples he submitted to me was a two page introduction to ERB's "The Mad King," done up as a comic strip with a modern setting. The art showed considerable talent and I was certain that, sooner or later, Mike would realize his ambition of becomming a professional cartoonist or illustrator. His comics pages also gave me the idea of cooperating with him in working up a fan publication of some obscure ERB short story or novelette, as a comic book.
Further correspondence with Mike informed me that he was planning on attending the upcoming Science Fiction "Con" in Oakland, California. It occurred to us that we had just enough time to produce our ERB comic and take the published copies to the convention and distrivute them to the ERB fans who would be attending the concurrant "Dum Dum" gathering there. I contacted Hulbert Burroughs in Tarzana and received his permission for Mike and myself to produce a 36 page comics version of his father's "Wizard of Venus" story. Throughout July and August Mike and I were busy scripting the story, doing the page breakdowns and penciling in the panels for the 36 sheets of original art. I handled the literary/editorial end of things in Idaho and Mike performed the visual tasks in Oregon. He got the booklet printed and was stapling it together just as I arrived at his Oregon home on Sept. 4, 1964.
From page 27 of Broadhurst and Royer's Wizard of Venus
From page 27 of Broadhurst and Royer's "Wizard of Venus"
Copyright 1964, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
It was during that initial visit with Mike Royer that my vistas of fantasy appreciation and collecting were first expanded to include "sequential art" beyond that produced by Burroughs artists, or by such artists who did other illustrative work, such as Hal Foster's Prince Valiant Sunday pages. Besides the Val pages, going back many years, Mike had collected together some impressive runs of Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon, Warren Tufts Casey Ruggles and Lance, and other visual delights from the old newspaper comics pages. He also had some tall piles of EC comics stories, neatly cut from the original magazines, and sorted by artist -- Wally Wood, Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta, etc. These clipped treasures he kindly offered to me as a sort of "turn the kid onto the good stuff" present, forever hooking me on the second generation stylistic progeny of Foster, Raymond and Hogarth. It was a comics enlightenment that later induced me to create and publish my DB Features line of comics, including "Weird Graphic Fantasy" and "Lair of Madness," titles now listed in compilations of the classic 1970s underground comics
In California, during 1964 and 65 I also had the pleasure of meeting in person my old (well, at least older) correspondents, Forrest J. Ackerman and Hulbert Burroughs. These fellows also encouraged me to expand my horizons to stories and artistry beyond that which was rigidly tied to ERB's works -- I ventured into a timid exploration of the works of J. Allen St. John, Robert E. Howard, Otis A. Kline, John Coleman Burroughs (Hully's brother), and other masters of imaginative fiction. It was an initial testing of the waters of what turned out to be a vast ocean of human creativity, a conglomeration of art, literature, music and adventure beyond even the ability of the thickest Bud Plant Illustrated Books Catalog to  adequately convey -- an adventure in personal and social discovery that still continues to enrich my life today.
Forrest J. Ackerman and Dale Broadhurst, summer 1964
Forrest J. Ackerman and Dale R. Broadhurst, summer 1964
Mike went on to work with such comics greats as Manning and Kirby, before evolving into animation work and a respected place among the Disney artists. I left the experience of working on the "Wizard of Venus" comic with the goal of creating color fan comics. Such publications were an expensive-to-produce rarity during the late 60s and early 70s, but I eventually satisified my yearnings in that regard. Mike continued to supply me with artwork up through the summer of 1971, when I was pleased to feature several of his nicely drawn and inked pages in my second issue of "(Weird) Graphic Fantasy." Among those pieces is a centerfold that gives a sample of panels from Mike's otherwise unpublished rendition of ERB's "Mastermind of Mars." In the years that followed, Mike's path and my own diverged and I eventually got out of fanzines and fan comics altogether. But, it was fun while it lasted!

Mike Royer's "Mastermind" centerfold, from Dale's "Weird
Graphic Fantasy" #2 (Aug. 1971)


Mike Royer (left) and Dale Broadhurst (right) -- after 40 years
Mike Royer (left) and Dale Broadhurst (right) -- after 40 years

Watercolor by Dale Broadhurst, published in Amtorian #2 (1965)
Watercolor by Dale Broadhurst,
published in Amtorian #2 (1965)

I've never claimed to be an artist, in the accepted sense of the term. My drawings, paintings and occasional comics illustration have all been done for fun -- not for profit or acclaim. But, having said that, I suppose what little art I have produced over the years has a certain primitive quaintness to it: a Grandma Moses style authenticity. Although I've swiped ten dozen images from St. John, Foster and Frazetta, what I've drawn and shared with others pretends to be nothing more than fan art, created for personal pleasure and a vicarious sense of being "in the game."

Typical of my earliest fan efforts is the watercolor featured on the inside cover of David Kohr's "Amtorian" #2 (Apr. 1965). It shows two Barsoomian airships in collision above the ruins of an ancient city. I suppose the green warrior who is observing the scene is a representation of myself -- the unschooled barbarian who (at that point in life, anyway) could do little more than point to a dramatic event, and say: "Look there, isn't that something!"

I also did the art for the cover of that issue, along with a few dozen other illustrations of that time which are quickly forgettable. I'd say that my cover illos for the "Burroughs Reader" nos. 4-6 had a kind of innocent charm to them -- nothing to get too excited about, but pretty much in context for ERB fan art of the mid 1960s. Certainly they were several cuts below the quality of Harry Habblitz's pictures, which appear in those same issues, showing Tarzan, a green warrior fighting a great white ape, etc.


Sample of Dale's Trent page (Weird Graphic Fantasy #2)
Splash panel from a Ned Young story (WGF #2)  and Sample of Dale's "Trent" page (Weird Graphic Fantasy #2)


When I brought out "(Weird) Graphic Fantasy" in the summer of 1971, I had some hopes of creating fan comics that would attract a wider readership than just my friends and family. The final issue of that publication eventually did reach that larger audience, selling on both the east and west coasts of an America already inundated with underground "comix" of questionable quality and morality. In order to satisfy such an intended set of readers I knew I had to offer half-way decent stories and art. Alas, that was not easily done on a draftsman's salary -- especially one who was living in the obscurity of northern Utah at the time. I was fortunate enough to enlist the services of Ned Young, a teenage artist and ERB fan who drew up some nice pictures emulating the Williamson-Krenkel school of EC comics art. My own comics story, "Cosmonaut 4176," was fairly well plotted, but suffered from my ignorance of how to draw and ink the panels. Even in its evolution into the "Trent" strip, with pencils supplied by Ned Young, it was not marketable.

In the second issue, published a few weeks later, the Trent strip finally received the color publication I had envisioned for several years, but its appearance paled in contrast to the offerings by Russ Manning, Mike Royer and Ned Young in that same issue. Trent died an unmourned death in the next issue -- which split into two separate magazines: "Weird Graphic Fantasy" and  "The Lair of Madness." So much for my dreams of playing Warren Tufts to comics fandom of the 1970s.
Mike Vosburg art from Comical Tragedy (WGF #3)
Mike Vosburg art from "Comical Tragedy" (WGF #3)
From Dale's First Duty story  (WGF #3)
From Dale's "First Duty" story  (WGF #3)
Mike Vosburg's John Carter, from Marvel's JCWM #25
Mike Vosburg's John Carter, from Marvel's JCWM #25
Mike did the interior pencils for John Carter in nos. 22-27
But the reason for the dual issue was that I was by then (spring 1972) beginning to accumulate a sizeable store of fan-produced comics stories. And, it seemed more likely that I could sell two 75 cent magazines to the discriminating public, than I could peddle a single issue at a buck fifty. The new issues did so well that the print run quickly sold out and I was compelled to reprint the material in an Annual a few months later. WGF #3 featured a color story called "Gratitude," illustrated by Ned Young in the classic EC style. I've always thought that it well marked the transition line between amateur and professional comic art -- just a little more effort and a slight evolution in style and it could have crossed over into the pages of a "real" comic book, like Warren's "Creepy." But the real show-stealer of the issue was a four-page effort (also printed in color) by Mike Vosburg, called "Comical Tragedy." Like Ned Young's strip, Vosburg's offering was on the verge of being a Pro product. It is no surprise that Ned went on to become a respected painter of western Americana and Mike a comics pro who, among other things, turned out a very nice John Carter of Mars for Marvel. He recently received an Emmy for his work on the TV production of Spawn and currently is mixed up in the Harry Potter craze, doing artwork for that series.
From Dale's Frazetta spoof story (WGF #3)
From Dale's Frazetta spoof story (WGF #3)
My own contributions to WGF #3 were not so memorable -- a backhanded tribute to Frazetta, called "White Injun," and a swipe of Hogarth's Tarzan Amazon warrior women, drawn EC style. The strips filled space in the book, but seeing them as a finished product convinced me that my own career as a fan comics artist was also finished. Only the Williamson-Frazettaesque cover of WGF #3 gave me any satisfaction as a commercial artist-cum-swiper. The companion issue, "Lair of Madness" #3, provided strips by Larry Ogan (who now fashions comics exhibits as a museum curator in New Mexico), and Jim Pinkoski (who went on to draw other things, including a well-circulated image of the Ark of the Covenant for the Christian books market).
From Dale's Slick Dick underground parody (LOM#2)
From Dale's "Slick Dick" underground parody (LOM#2)
From Bob Mosher's Hunger (Lair of Madness #2)
From Bob Mosher's "Hunger" (Lair of Madness #2)
All of which led to my final enlistment in the jousts of comicdom, the 1973 publication of WGF #4 and LOM #2. These were begun as fan comics but during the course of their production, became underground comics, which received a national distribution in the tens of thousands -- none of which ever translated into dollars in my own pocket. These two zines were slicker and perhaps more interesting to a non-specialized audience, than anything I'd done before. Only a single strip came from my own pen -- A Crumb rip-off called "Slick Dick." This mind-altering fantasy is something I'd rather forget these days; but I suppose it did show what might have come from the circumstance of my ever being forced to make a living creating comics. On the other hand, ERB fan artist Bob Mosher's "Hunger" story would have fit right in with the EC offerings in its combat comics of the 1950s -- a real keeper!
From Paul Hugli and Clyde Caldwell's Thon (WGF #4)
From Paul Hugli and Clyde Caldwell's "Thon" (WGF #4)
From Dennis Fujitake's The Beginning (WGF#4)
From Dennis Fujitake's "The Beginning" (WGF#4)
Especially nice, in that pair of 1973 comixzines, was a strip drawn by Clyde Caldwell, entitled "Thon," "The Beginning" by Dennis Fujitake, and a gritty story from a young Will Meuginot, called "A Boy, a Babe and a B. E.M." All three of these artists went on to receive international fame, and I'm pleased to have known them when they were just getting started. Like Mike Royer, Meuginot graduated from fandom, to drawing Gold Key's Korak, to doing world class comics animation. Caldwell is now a famous artist whose cover paintings may be feasted upon in practically any contemporary display of SF & Fantasy books. Fujitake's excellent work may be found in many comics publications, not the least of which has been his own Dalgoda comics. And strip writer Paul Hugli has moved on to chronicling such adult media as the fifty year run of Playboy magazine and the blue films of Traci Lords.
From Will Meuginot's A Boy, A Babe & A BEM (WGF#4)
From Will Meuginot's "A Boy, A Babe & A BEM" (WGF#4)

Artists Clyde Caldwell, Mike Vosburg and Dennis Fujitake
Artists Clyde Caldwell, Mike Vosburg and Dennis Fujitake

It was a blast -- to live out the fantasy of being Bill Gaines, if only for a few years, on weekends, while I was otherwise employed as a mild-mannered draftsman for the U.S. Government. Still, career federal employees do not make the best underground comics promoters, and I eventually forsook both occupations to study theology, work as an educational volunteer in the Himalayas, and, eventually, to lounge about on various tropical Pacific islands, as I now do.
Will Meuginot alternated with Dan Spiegel in penciling Korak stories
Will Meuginot alternated with Dan Spiegel in penciling Korak stories
See also his "Tarzan & the Sign of Sumo" in "Tarzan Monthly" #1 (1977)
My rewards come in hearing how my old pals in the comics game are doing -- what new creations they are giving to the world. Will Meuginot recently took a break from his professional animation creations to say: "I remember your kindness and appreciate your early support of my work... Thanks for the link to the John Carter strips -- In the small world department, John Coleman Burroughs was the second real pro artist I ever met... in Hawaii."

JCB's kids still own property here on the Big Island, not far from the condo where I'm writing this little article. Yes, it is indeed a small world!
 

Dale R. Broadhurst
Hilo, Dec. 7, 2003

 
FANZINE ARCHIVE
Three of the rarest fanzines in ERB Fandom
Dale R. Broadhurst's "The Burroughs Reader"

Burroughs Reader No. 3Burroughs Reader No. 2Burroughs Reader No. 1

 
SWORD OF THEOSOPHY SERIES
 
J. Carter: Sword of Theosophy Revisited
2. Lupoff of Mars
3. ERB: Search for Ultimate Answers
 
THE GODS OF ERB SERIES
 
1. Religions of ERB Fiction
2. Spectres of the Supernatural 
3. Beyond the Farthest Stars
 
REX MAXON TRIBUTE PAGES INTRO
 
2. Maxon/Foster Connection
3. Reprints
4. Summary of Sunday Pages
CLASSIC ERB-RELATED REPRINTS
 
Story of Atlantis: W.Scott-Elliott I
Story of Atlantis: W.Scott-Elliott II
Phra the Phoenician: EL Arnold: Intro

Our other Biblio-Pro-Philes are featured at:
THE BURROUGHS BIBLIO-PRO-PHILE HONOUR ROLE SITE


Volume 1110

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